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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

Xcel celebrates excellence as athletes graduate in Durban

The latest addition to the Durban running scene Xcel Running Club hosted an event on in Durban on Saturday night to celebrate their athletes' achievements. Bathobile Mkhize, Ayanda Mncube, Mthokozisi Mazibuko, Ndumiso Sokhela and Siyabonga Nkonde have obtained their Sports coaching and Coaching Science certificates and the club took the opportunity to celebrate the runners who now have a qualification to fall back on when running fails to pay the bills.

This coaching program launched in 2017 by Department of Education, Department of Sports and Recreation and South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee( SASCOC) was aimed at providing technical learning opportunities for promising coaches who weren't able to further their studies. The program was run in partnership with KwaZulu Natal-based Further Education and Training (FET) where these young people were trained in various coaching and sports science disciplines.

Xcel Running Club athletes toast to their new qualifications. Photo Credit: Xcel.

Xcel Chairperson Sibusiso Cele is delighted to see these athletes following the path of education. He believes this qualification will be a tool they can use to provide for themselves once their running careers are over. Cele emphasized that their club's vision is to change athlete's lives by encouraging more of them to further their education. "I'm so happy seeing these athletes obtaining badges in that program they attended," said an ecstatic Cele.

"We must understand that talent fades along the way but with education as your weapon then the athlete is guaranteed life after sports. When we formed this club, we needed to associate ourselves with all the athletes with the vision outside athletics so we are very unique. That why we made this special event to motivate and encourage them that our club celebrates excellence at all cost. Nothing pleases my heart more than seeing someone making a change about his/her life," he smiled. Cele who was with Ethekwini Athletics Club before branching out to help form Xcel last year, says the club has a special program to assist all their athletes to further their studies, and he applauded those sponsors who keep throwing in a helping hand.

Newly elected KZNA President Steve Mkasi was one of the invited guests and took the opportunity to share a few words of encouragement. Photo Credit: Xcel.

"If I can tell you today, from catering, decor, and cake we never paid anything as it was all sponsored," explains Cele. "We are proud that we managed to do this event successful. But as the club, we have a special program where we assist athletes to further their education. So we are more than a running club. We take athletes as part of our family as most come from difficult backgrounds so we must uplift them in order for them to perform. An athlete can't perform while surrounded by challenges at home."

Nkonde, who is one of the additional members under the Athletes commission in the newly elected KwaZulu-Natal Athletics( KZNA) thinks this should be an eye-opener to other athletes to change the way they see education, extending his gratitude to all parties that made this program possible.

Athletes dance as they celebrate their new sports science and coaching qualifications. Photo Credit: Xcel.

"I'm happy that I took part in this course and other athletes should follow this path," said the University of South Africa (UNISA) first-year student. "This should open their eyes and end the norm that athletes are uneducated. But I must applaud Sascoc, Department of Education for assisting us all the way. We are already helping in the primary schools with the Physical education and we are putting our skills into the test. I'm aiming to exercise my skills more in the near future," he said.

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